Shortcuts to magic

Part of surviving the southern hemisphere combo special – summer heating up just as we are on final approach to the seasonal holiday frenzy – is, as they say in the classics, knowing when to fold ’em. You just have to work out and accept that there are limits, whether the last straw will be:…

‘Tis the season …

For years we did the combat shopping thing to get all the foraging done while working full time and wrangling a couple of school age boys. Now I have the luxury of shopping in small bursts whenever I feel like it, and taking a leisurely walk to get it done rather than battling the traffic…

Just coffee in my coffee

I know, I know – I’m old fashioned because I don’t particularly like the frou-frou coffees like “pumpkin spice latte” or (horrors) the latest broccoli latte! My deeply held belief is that the best thing in coffee is more coffee, but I do have a soft spot for pumpkin spice when it comes to the…

Rosemary is for remembrance

It’s been a while, which was bad news as far as I just ran out of time for the things that are my recreations.* But there was also good news, in that I did manage to finish my PhD along the way – so I have been Dr Mumchefoz since March this year – and…

“It’s nothing special”

I recently fell into a project where the work skills that I take for granted were rather more highly prized by those colleagues than I have come to expect – they were particularly appreciative, and made me blush which is no mean feat at my age!  On the same theme, I see my cooking as something…

When a recipe is noise

Sometimes, a recipe just gets in the way of progress – like earlier in the week, after a couple of rainy days and no walks to the green grocer, plus it was still coming down in stair rods every hour or so.  That left me looking at a cupboard cooking effort – but we had…

Cook’s day off

As the temperature climbed past 35°C again today, with humidity in the 90s, we went with having a day off, binge-watching our favourite genre shows and having lazy meals – so brunch started to look a lot like linner (when breakfast has gone past lunch, heading towards dinner!). Pancakes are quick to prepare and so perfect…

December 22 – cranberries

Cranberries in many forms are an indispensable part of Christmas now – but when I was young, back around the time of the last ice age, the token bowl of cranberry sauce was the limit – and then only if turkey was on the menu.   Dried cranberries now seem to be in everything but…

December 20 – fudge

It has been seriously stinking hot here today, breathtakingly humid, then an armageddon quality storm this afternoon and instantly 10 degrees cooler.  Cooking really rather lacked appeal until then, and having the oven on for long still looked more than a bit dodgy. What’s a girl to do?  Go with something that only needs a…

December 16 & 17 – orange or coal?

Yesteryear’s traditional anxiety for children at Christmas was (among Anglophones at least) – would they find the reward of an orange or the remonstrance of a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking?  Well, I’ve gone with both in this little bevy of treats, after facing the anxiety-producing presence of possibly the longest-legged huntsman spider I…

December 12 – something red, and coconut ice is cool!!

James, the junior cook here, is in charge today!  He made the command decision that we needed to do coconut ice for afternoon tea, and it should be red to be cheery for Christmas – and I am a voice-activated cooking tutor today, so here you have it – red coconut ice that is waaaaaaay…

December 6 – fruit mince

For the 2017 Advent-ure, this is me taking my own advice, to follow these maxims –  plucked from amongst those by which I have worked for decades: Cook’s rule #127 – don’t be afraid to try new things for fear of failure – everyone has to eat every day, and cooking the same couple of…

December 5 – gingerbread

Gingerbread may not be an ingredient per se, but stick with this one and you’ll see why it qualifies in this Advent cook-a-rama. No question, I owe my high school German teacher a great deal – suffice it to say that after a lapse of more than 30 years when I finally went to Germany…

December 4 – cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of those things that to me always seems a bit magical.  I really associate with the special things our Mum often only made at Christmas – she used it sparingly then, but now spices from all over the world have become more available and more reasonably priced, all year round I throw it…

The actual cupboard

No doubt about it, the secret to low stress cooking is a well organised and suitably stocked cupboard.  Apart from anything else – like your plans being stumped because the store is out of one key item you need – if you shop for every meal, chances are that there will be a lot of…